From Here to Forever


Rome Meets Bible Religion

But Rome resolved to bring Britain under her supremacy. In the sixth century her missionaries undertook the conversion of the heathen Saxons. As the work progressed, the papal leaders encountered the primitive Christians—simple, humble, and scriptural in character, doctrine, and manners. The former manifested the superstition, pomp, and arrogance of popery. Rome demanded that these Christian churches acknowledge the sovereign pontiff. The Britons replied that the pope was not entitled to supremacy in the church and they could render to him only that submission due every follower of Christ. They knew no other master than Christ. HF 42.1

Now the true spirit of the papacy was revealed. Said the Romish leader: “If you will not receive brethren who bring you peace, you shall receive enemies who will bring you war.”1 War and deception were employed against these witnesses for Bible faith, until the churches of Britain were destroyed or forced to submit to the pope. HF 42.2

In lands beyond the jurisdiction of Rome, for centuries Christian bodies remained almost wholly free from papal corruption. They continued to regard the Bible as the only rule of faith. These Christians believed in the perpetuity of the law of God and observed the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. Churches that held to this faith and practice existed in Central Africa and among the Armenians of Asia. HF 42.3

Of those who resisted the papal power, the Waldenses stood foremost. In the very land where popery had fixed its seat, the churches of Piedmont maintained their independence. But the time came when Rome insisted upon their submission. Some, however, refused to yield to pope or prelate, determined to preserve the purity and simplicity of their faith. A separation took place. Those who adhered to the ancient faith now withdrew. Some, forsaking their native Alps, raised the banner of truth in foreign lands. Others retreated to the rocky fastnesses of the mountains and there preserved their freedom to worship God. HF 42.4

Their religious belief was founded upon the written Word of God. Those humble peasants, shut away from the world, had not by themselves arrived at truth in opposition to the dogmas of the apostate church. Their religious belief was their inheritance from their fathers. They contended for the faith of the apostolic church. “The church in the wilderness,” and not the proud hierarchy enthroned in the world's great capital, was the true church of Christ, the guardian of the treasures of truth which God committed to His people to be given to the world. HF 43.1

Among the leading causes that had led to the separation of the true church from Rome was the hatred of the latter toward the Bible Sabbath. As foretold by prophecy, the papal power trampled the law of God in the dust. Churches under the papacy were compelled to honor Sunday. Amid the prevailing error many of the true people of God became so bewildered that while they observed the Sabbath, they refrained from labor also on Sunday. But this did not satisfy the papal leaders. They demanded that the Sabbath be profaned, and they denounced those who dared to show it honor. HF 43.2

Hundreds of years before the Reformation the Waldenses possessed the Bible in their native tongue. This rendered them the special objects of persecution. They declared Rome to be the apostate Babylon of the Apocalypse. At the peril of their lives they stood up to resist her corruptions. Through ages of apostasy there were Waldenses who denied the supremacy of Rome, rejected image worship as idolatry, and kept the true Sabbath. (See Appendix) HF 43.3

Behind the lofty bulwarks of the mountains the Waldenses found a hiding place. Those faithful exiles pointed their children to the heights towering above them in majesty and spoke of Him whose word is as enduring as the everlasting hills. God had set fast the mountains; no arm but that of Infinite Power could move them. In like manner He had established His law. The arm of man could as readily uproot the mountains and hurl them into the sea, as change one precept of the law of God. Those pilgrims indulged no repining because of the hardships of their lot; they were never lonely amid the mountain solitudes. They rejoiced in their freedom to worship. From many a lofty cliff they chanted praise, and the armies of Rome could not silence their songs of thanksgiving. HF 44.1